Asking Better Questions
Whenever we are deciding whether we should do something, the common question that we ask ourselves is, “Does the Bible say that it is wrong?” Or, when we ask another brother or sister about a certain behavior that they are approving of or are involved in, they may answer by saying, “Show me in the Bible where it’s wrong! Show me where it’s condemned!” We get into discussions and debates asking questions, such as, “Is it wrong to gamble? Is it wrong to smoke? Is it wrong to have one alcoholic beverage? Is it wrong to dance or go to the prom? Is it wrong to be involved with politics or not to vote? Is it wrong to skip our Bible studies or the 9am Sunday sermon?” While the question, “Is it wrong?” certainly has its place, we need to consider the fact that there are other questions which need to be asked as well. There are more questions that need to be asked than just, “Is it against the rules?”
Christian living is about walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7), walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26), and walking in the light (1 John 1:7). These passages show that we are called to a higher standard, and we have to ask more mature questions than just, “Is it wrong? or, “Is it lawful?” or, “Is it against the rules?” Paul shows this when he was interacting with the same kind of responses from the Corinthians. Since the law of Moses was done away with and they were now under the grace of Christ, they would say things like, “All things are lawful.” Paul responds by showing that even if things are permitted (or not explicitly condemned), this does not mean one should do them. Paul responded by saying, “But not all things are helpful” and, “Not all things build up” (1 Cor. 10:23). Paul shows them (and us) that there are other questions that need asked before engaging in a certain behavior. These questions would include (but are not limited to):
We have to get better at asking questions like these. We must understand that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should do it. There are many things we can do, but fewer things we should do. We have to start asking, “What is the likely outcome of this course of action?” and then only proceed if people will be helped, God will be glorified, and purity and holiness will be reflected.
But even when these questions are asked, this does not mean we will all come to the same conclusion about all of these behaviors. In this case, I believe there are at least three principles we must keep in mind:
Many subjects are a matter of wisdom and discernment. We need to in these areas work to distinguish between good and evil, using God’s word to do so (Hebrews 5:13). We need to have our minds renewed so that we can “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We see in Romans 12:2 a different kind of thinking. Instead of thinking, “is this wrong,” we need to ask, “is this behavior good, acceptable, and perfect?” Let’s help each other to be wise. Let’s help each other ask better questions. And let’s learn to love each other even when we arrive at different conclusions.
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